1. Have a Theme for Your Photo Scheme

Before you even start your Instagram, you want to have a good sense of your brand identity, so you can pick a solid theme for your photo scheme. In other words, you want to have a consistent color strategy, content plan, and overall style that is consistent. For example, Graywolf Press uses a lot of angular shapes and bright colors while other literary presses might choose to post pictures of stacks of books or of people reading. If Graywolf went with one of these motifs, it would clash with their overall presentation and big picture.

2. Think of the Big Picture

By big picture, we mean what your Instagram page looks like when someone clicks on it. In other words, don’t think of the singular image, but think of the big picture that people see when they click. When you post an image, think of how the overall composition will look. Author Dan Brown’s Instagram feed is a fine example of this. He (or more likely his social media coordinator) uses blocks of 15 images to create a “big picture”. This big picture should tell your brand’s story. As in the case of Brown’s big picture, his images are centered around his most recent novel, Origin.

3. Edit Your Photos to Fit the Platform

As you probably know, the aspect ratio for an image on Instagram is different from one posted to Facebook or to Twitter or anywhere else. Instagram’s aspect ratio is a 1:1 or a square, so edit your photos to frame them according to the aspect ratio.

Additionally, use the tools Instagram makes available to adjust the color and brightness of your image to fit your theme, or edit it beforehand with an app like Englight or a program like Adobe. 

4. Frame Your Shots

When it comes to taking photos, framing is important, especially if you’re going to try to do a “big picture” type of concept on your Instagram (think in terms of squares). In fact, think of each image divided into squares, like a tic-tac-toe board.

·       Usually, the image’s focal point will be in the middle of the frame (tic-tac-toe board); however, you can be creative as long as the subject or focal point (like a horizon line) are placed logically in the image.

·       When taking photos, the horizon line should be horizontal. The image might be of a beautiful model on a beach; however, look past the model and make sure that the horizon is straight.

·       When taking photos, look for objects like trees, buildings, book edges…whatever, that can help you line up your shot.

·       Inspect the lighting for your photo. Early morning and late afternoon natural lighting works well, but indoor lighting is fine. Keep an eye on shadows when you get ready to take your picture as these can ruin an otherwise perfect photo.

·       On the topic of lighting, an under-exposed shot is better than an over-exposed one because you can always adjust the exposure later; keep in mind that it is always easier to add light.

With practice, your skills will improve. As you look at other feeds, think critically about what works and why and then implement those skills into your own photography. Most of all, though, think of your brand’s theme and story and make sure your strategy is consistent.


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Whether you’re telling your brand’s story with images or with words, The Storyteller Agency can help you take your reach to the next level. Contact us and find out what we can do for your brand.

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